7 NHL Teams That Are the Best at Finding Hidden Talent
Throughout the history of the NHL, some teams have been great at finding hidden talent through the draft, waiver wire or alternate means. Some of these finds, like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick, have become cornerstone pieces.
It is always easy to take the best player available, but some teams use their gut when it comes to taking a chance on a player. It may not always work out, but here are the NHL teams that are the best at finding hidden talent.
In most drafts, teams are only sure about their first-round picks because anything can happen with players drafted late.
In the case of the Boston Bruins, a big part of the team is comprised of later draft picks that have paid off. Players like Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic were drafted after the first round,
Gordie Clark, current assistant general manager of the New York Rangers, did a great job building up the core of the team that won the Stanley Cup, and the organization is very good at discovering talent as a whole.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings have a knack for plucking hidden talent out of the draft, whether they know it or not. Two of Detroit's best players, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, were drafted very late in their respective drafts, and they have become vital pieces for the franchise.
Just looking at the impact of Damien Brunner thus far gives a sense that management knows what it's doing when it comes to taking chances on players from another league.
Since Detroit also plucked Nicklas Lidstrom in a later round, it is safe to say that the team executives are good at unearthing talent.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings have picked some hidden gems during their history, and one of them is a key part of the franchise today.
Jonathan Quick was drafted 72nd overall in 2005, and he was a main reason why the Kings won the Stanley Cup last season.
Other notable hidden talent selections during the Kings' history include Luc Robitaille and Dave Taylor, both of whom had amazing careers in Los Angeles.
The Nashville Predators' two most important players were plucked later in their respective drafts, and they would be cornerstone pieces on any NHL franchise.
Pekka Rinne is one of the Western Conference's best goaltenders, and Shea Weber is an elite defenseman with a howitzer of a slap shot.
Other solid hidden talent picks include Martin Erat, Craig Smith and Patric Hornqvist.
New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils have done a great job of finding hidden gems through the draft over the past few years, and many of these players have become key pieces of the roster.
These players include Adam Henrique, Patrik Elias and David Clarkson. Devils' GM Lou Lamoriello is a solid businessman, and he is great at picking talent for the team.
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders get a lot of grief for the bad contracts they have handed out in the past few years, but they have made some shrewd moves that have paid huge dividends.
In 2009 they took a chance on Matt Moulson, and he went on to develop amazing chemistry with John Tavares. Fast forwarding to the present, Moulson has recorded three straight 30-goal seasons with the team.
Other players the team took a chance on who have succeeded recently include Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, Michael Grabner and Brad Boyes.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers' current roster is made up of many players who are considered hidden talents. For starters, Henrik Lundqvist was drafted 205th overall in 2000, and he is currently the Rangers' best player and anchor in goal.
Two of the Rangers' best defenders also are hidden talents who were added in solid moves.
Dan Girardi was an undrafted defenseman who played junior hockey before getting his chance with the team, and Ryan McDonagh was acquired from Montreal after he fell out of favor as a prospect.
When you add in later drafted players like Ryan Callahan, Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan, you get an appreciation for the scouting department and general manager Glen Sather.